Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is promising a state-led campaign to make Michigan’s most troubled cities safer, reports the Wall Street Journal. This fight promises to be tough. Four of the 10 U.S. cities of at least 50,000 people with the highest 2010 violent-crime rates are in Michigan—Saginaw, Flint, Detroit and Pontiac. Two of those, Flint and Pontiac, are under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager, and Detroit could soon become the third, after a state financial review is completed this month.
Under state law, emergency managers have wide authority to cut budgets, and law-enforcement costs have been among their targets. Pontiac’s police department, for instance, was disbanded in 2011 and merged with the local sheriff’s office. The Republican governor, who took office last year, sharply cut aid to cities and the working poor as part of a restructuring of the state’s finances and tax code, which cut business taxes by $1.7 billion. His new budget, to be released Thursday, will include fresh spending to fight crime, primarily in the state’s four most violent cities, including about $15 million to hire new law-enforcement officers, $20 million to help the cities’ chronically unemployed and youth, and $12 million to make the criminal-justice system more efficient, including new jail space.